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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cache Gran Fondo 2012

I did it!  I rode my bike for 51.4 miles in the Cache Gran Fondo 2012.  I only decided to try and do this ride less than 2 weeks ago, so I didn't have too much time to train.  I also don't have the kind of bike you're supposed to have, but the Gran Fondo is a ride, not a race, and billed for all levels.  I hoped I'd be fine.  Of course, when I signed up, it said it was a 40 mile ride.  Then it became 50, and I got worried.


By the time I showed up Saturday morning, I was really nervous.  I felt embarrassed to be the only one (it seemed) with a bike for riding around town instead of speed.  Mark came to see me off and give me moral support, which I really appreciated.  I hoped everyone would pass me quickly so that I could just ride at my own pace without feeling so self-conscious.  The 100 mile riders and 70 mile riders all started earlier, and at 7:15 am, our 50-miler group was off.




The course was pretty flat, so I did fine for a long time.  I started out in about the middle of the group, but people steadily passed me.  Every time I was pretty sure I was the last one, someone else would pass.  But it wasn't until nearly 20 miles into the ride that the young boys on mountain bikes passed me.  I decided that was really probably it--the last to pass me.  Then we did a little one mile sprint and I passed a couple of the boys.  No offense kids, but that was kind of fun.



At the first rest area, they had really good breakfast food that I didn't feel hungry to eat, and bike repairs offered.  My bike chain had started squeaking continuously as I pedaled, so I asked if they could oil my chain.  The guy was so nice.  I was embarrassed about my bike again, and he was very complimentary: probably just to help me feel good.  He also adjusted my shifters so that I could get into 8th gear (my highest) which wasn't working before.  Yeah!  I rode off feeling like I'd had a free tune up.

Then I hit the hill challenge.  It was about a mile and a half and looked straight up from the bottom.  I was determined to ride up the whole thing, even if I had to rest and then ride some more.  It seems really hard to walk a bike up a hill after pedaling so hard; I've tried it.  Not far into riding up, I realized that everyone on the hill was walking their bikes.  They yelled encouragements to me when I passed.  Bikers are nice!  Seriously!  Once I was done, I felt like the rest of the ride was in the bag.



Somewhere after that, I started having random thoughts like, "I should have shaved my legs," and "These bike shorts really helped!  I'm only getting really sore right now!"  Some ladies taking a break on the side of the road told me I was doing really well with that kind of a bike.  So nice!

The weather was fantastic: cooler than it'd been in weeks, and overcast.  Kind of sticky, but worth it to have the sun behind clouds.



At the 40 mile rest stop, I was really glad I still had 10 miles to go, because I still felt good.  The ride back in to Logan was fun, but I could start to really feel the tired muscles.





Mark and the little kids came to meet me at the finish line.  Lots of bystanders cheered, which was really fun.  What a great ride!  I'm so glad I did it, and I have to admit, it's a lot easier and more fun for me than running.  I'm taking a couple of days off now to rest my aching muscles and knees.  I forgot to look at my time when I rode through the finish arch, but it was pretty close to 5 hours and 20 minutes.  And I didn't finish last.


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